Monday, September 26, 2011

Education Corridor Project is 2011 Grow Smart Winner

The Education Corridor Project was recently announced as the recipient of the 2011 Idaho Grow Smart Award. The project received the Grow Smart award in “Redevelopment,” the category which recognizes revitalization efforts. The Grow Smart Award is presented by Idaho Smart Growth, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2001. It supports communities, builders, planners, architects, organizations, and developers for incorporating smart growth principles.

The education corridor project has already begun to transform the former Stimson Lumber Company’s DeArmond Mill site, the 17-acre parcel located on the east bank of the Spokane River. The over 45-acre NIC campus lies immediately south of the mill. The University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College lie to the north.

The Fort Grounds neighborhood, immediately south of the corridor site and east of the NIC campus, is currently affected by construction on the education corridor infrastructure project. Neighborhood residents were actively involved in various stages of project planning.

“The Grow Smart Award is consistent with the whole premise of the education corridor – it’s great that the project has been recognized,” said Councilman John Bruning, a resident of the Fort Grounds neighborhood. Bruning explained that community and stakeholder collaboration created a plan that essentially took an old brownfield – the abandoned Stimson Lumber Mill – and is turning it into opportunities. “The education corridor is going to be a huge benefit for citizens, both in attracting jobs and people,” said Bruning. “It’s going to mean educational and occupational opportunities for our local kids and for generations to come.”

Fort Grounds residents have told their councilman that they are pretty happy with how the construction has gone so far. “Two things they insisted upon during the planning process were additional parking and a secondary access to the neighborhood,” said Bruning, “and the planners listened.” Three roundabouts for ease in traffic flow, new parking, and an additional entrance/exit at Hubbard and Northwest Boulevard have met all the original requests.

For information about the Grow Smart awards, go to: www.idahobusinessreview.com. For more information about Idaho Smart Growth, go to www.idahosmartgrowth.org. Members of the Grow Smart award selection team include architects, planners, developers, realtors, and professional administrators who work with municipalities.